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Letter from the MAG Board Chair: MAG Year in Review (MAG Quarterly- Volume Four, Issue Four)

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By John Drechny, MAG Board Chair & Senior Director of Payments Services, Walmart

December 1, 2016

As the year comes to a close, it gives us time to reflect on the many accomplishments the MAG has achieved while looking ahead to the opportunities we face in the coming year.  

Let me first start with thanking every one for the outpouring of love and support I personally received at our last Annual Conference. As most of you know, I had a running accident that left me spending the majority of the conference in the hospital. The kindness that both my wife and I received from the MAG membership during this time was overwhelming and I just wanted to take time to thank everyone. As my wife told me after having time to meet a lot of you, “You really are with family when you’re with your friends at the MAG.” As an update, I have made a full recovery and am back up and running both figurative and physically.

This year has been a very productive year for the MAG as we added staff and focused on key objectives. We all have a lot to be proud of as the merchant’s voice continues to become louder in the industry. Below are some of the key highlights:

  • Advocacy
    • Brand Operational Initiatives
      • Limitations on EMV chargebacks both based on dollar amount and quantity
      • Announcement by Visa of real time authorization for returns 
      • Delay in removal of CVV as an option on hand keyed transactions
      • Open discussion on delaying EMV liability shift for Automated Fuel Dispensers
    • Card Not Present Initiatives
      • Development of a strategy to achieve fairness on card not present transactions
      • Collection of key benchmarking metrics
      • Engagement with brands on chargeback liability and 3DS 2.0 products
    • Clarification from the Federal Reserve on routing requirement of EMV debit transactions ensuring merchants’ ability to choose.  
  • Education
    • Record number of Webinars with high participation rates
    • Record attendance at both Mid-year and Annual Conference with 90% ratings
    • Launch of “Know Your Payments” website
  • Membership – Continued growth in both quantity and diversity of merchants members
  • Financial – Achieved a balanced budget and the addition of staff and services

The MAG will continue to invest in those initiatives which are most important to our members.  We will need to defend territory we gained while pushing for a competitive payment space in the future.  Some of the new items that the board has approved for 2017 include:

  • New VP of Operations – this role will help us push our brand operational list while providing support in many other areas
  • Laying the ground work for a credential program of Certified Merchant Payment experts
  • Executive level educational material

These new initiatives along with the current advocacy, education, membership and governance programs in place make the MAG a critical resource for merchants.  It is through the dedication of the many Merchant participants and staff that makes this all possible.   

As we look forward to 2017, our goal is to expand the merchants’ influence.  To be successful we need your help:

  • First, choose an item you are passionate about and engage in the conversation
  • Second, tell your merchant counterparts about the progress we are making so we can expand our footprint
  • Third, let us know how we can do a better job supporting your business

On behalf of the Board, thank you for all you do to make us great.  If you would like to learn more on how you can get plugged in or have a thought on how we can be better, feel free to drop me a note at john.drechny@walmart.com or give me a call at 479-277-2528.  

Have a great Holiday Season,

John Drechny

Merchant Advisory Group, Board Chair